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USL, USL BLACK PLAYERS ALLIANCE ESTABLISH UNITED AGAINST RACISM COMMITMENT

By USL Championship Communications, 04/09/21, 2:45PM CDT

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ORGANIZATION-WIDE INITIATIVE AIMS TO DRIVE SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY IMPACT, INCREASE REPRESENTATION OF DIVERSE POPULATIONS THROUGHOUT THE USL ECOSYSTEM

TAMPA, FL  (April 9, 2021) The United Soccer League and the USL Black Players Alliance (USLBPA) today launched the United Against Racism commitment, a new organization-wide initiative inclusive of all Black, Indigenous, LatinX, AAPI, people of color, and any other community experiencing racism (BIPOC). The Commitment, created in a collaborative effort, has been crafted to grow, build, and adapt in future years.

It is built principally on eight key concepts:

• Realize and acknowledge that there is a lack of representation for BIPOC communities within strategic decision-making positions. Make a commitment to change. 

• Provide anti-racism training and education for all USL players, USL HQ employees, USL Club Ownership, Front Offices, and technical staff.

• Partner and consult with other like-minded organizations to continue to enhance visibility, as well as furthering educational opportunities and resources for our League, Clubs, and players.

• Identify opportunities to promote, impact, and celebrate local BIPOC-owned businesses.

• Serve as a platform to help learn and educate about all forms of racism and anti-racist behaviors.

• Provide and encourage opportunities for players to speak out against societal injustices.

• Invest time, energy, and other resources into our communities with an emphasis on benefiting BIPOC communities.

• Identify opportunities to bring the Black community closer to the sport of soccer and highlight the intersection of soccer and Black culture.

The Commitment will be ongoing, built to exist well into the future, and with the intent to see it strengthened on an annual basis. 

“We are excited to be a part of this project,” said USLBPA Co-founder and Executive Committee member Matt Watson. “We view this as a positive step towards change that can benefit everyone. The initiatives and commitments included will have massive impacts on the communities that we serve here in the USL.”

Of particular note, USL HQ and the USLBPA have teamed up with the Institute for Sport and Social Justice to conduct comprehensive sensitivity and unconscious bias training for all USL and club staff, players, and other full-time employees. The USL has also committed to reaching an ‘A’ grade for overall racial and gender hiring at the USL from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) by 2026.

Additionally, as it did prior to the 2020 election cycle, USL HQ and the USLBPA will use their platforms to advocate for increased participation, voter registration, and equal voting opportunities in local, state, and national elections. The USL has also committed to the support and celebration of local BlPOC-owned businesses, allocating sponsorable digital assets as identified by USL Championship and League One clubs, while all Championship and League One jerseys will feature “United Against Racism” marks placed below the league patch on the left sleeve. The USL will also recognize, honor, and when appropriate, celebrate, important dates such as Juneteenth, Black History Month and others as identified by the USLBPA.

Through these new initiatives, the United Soccer League and USL Black Players Alliance aim to create a more equitable league and help deliver meaningful change in USL Championship and League One communities.

“To the entire USL community, we know commitments like these are just the initial steps,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “We also know that the hard work is still to come and there remains immense room for improvement. With that said, it is our hope that the United Against Racism Commitment will help lay the foundation for a period of growth, action, and meaningful change across the USL ecosystem. Every year, we intend to learn, improve, and get better. Now it’s time to get to work.”

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